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Sun Valley Elementary & American Traditions

Sun Valley Elementary’s Kindergarten SPLASH class Alexis Juhl and Chantz Johnson (from left to right) pose with dreidels during their media time

November and December can be exciting months in Union County. Many parents visit relatives while school is closed for either Thanksgiving or Winter Break. It is a time to relax and be with loved ones. Enjoying football games or simply watching all the different parades is a must for many residents in the county.

Many American Jewish families are celebrating this year as Hanukkah 2013 began on the evening of Wednesday, November 27, and will end the evening of Thursday, December 5. It is so important this year because it has been 125 years since Thanksgiving and Hanukkah have been celebrated in America at the same time!

This year Media Coordinator Kevin Vickers has developed a media lesson to focus on Hanukkah. Parent David Frankel visited the media center during one of these lessons. “To see the children laughing, dancing and singing The Dreidel Song brought the true meaning of ‘Festival of Lights’ to the classroom. This type of teaching will leave such a positive impression on the children and increase their awareness about Hanukkah that up until yesterday may have seemed strange or unknown,” said Mr. Frankel.

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah have a lot in common. Both address the struggle for religious freedom. As Americans, many Jewish members in Union County are combining the two holidays because both are very important. Many call this time of year Thanksgivukkah. “It sounds really strange calling Hanukkah this. This is the second time in US history that this has happened,” said Kevin Vickers Sun Valley Elementary School’s Media Coordinator. The first time was when Thanksgiving was proclaimed a US federal holiday in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. It is also interesting to find books like Hanukkah at Valley Forge that discuss about General George Washington listening to a Polish Jewish American soldier embrace the story of the Maccabees and the miracle that Hanukkah celebrates.

Ellie Sparks, a 2nd grade teacher, also invited Mr. and Mrs. Frankel to her classroom to explain Hanukkah. They shared traditions and a story. Mr. Frankel said, “We hope that our visit results in an understanding of Hanukkah, the meaning behind it and the importance of upholding a Jewish tradition with the family.

“Our differences are what make us stronger as a community,” said Dr. Terri Cooper, Sun Valley Elementary School Principal. “Having our special area teachers discuss all holidays and not just focus on one enables us to remain unified as a community.”

Written by: Kevin Vickers
Posted: Dec 06, 2013 by Kevin Vickers

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